I had heard what a blessing going to a homeschool expo would be, and my husband and I certainly felt that way today. Not only was it a chance for us to attend some very interesting workshops, it was also a time for us to sit down and really talk about where our kids are going with school this year. If you are like me, as the mom you make most of the educational decisions in your family's homeschool. I know my husband is behind me 100%, but because of the demands of his job he can't always be there to help implement things and he certainly doesn't have an in depth knowledge of what the children are really learning. Through the workshops we attended, a long and peaceful lunch together, and the car ride to and from the expo, I think I brought him up to speed. At lunch he even remarked he was so glad we had decided to go together. I am beyond thankful for my life partner.
Last night I told him the only thing lacking for this coming year was an attack plan for writing. So, I wanted to go to some writing workshops and look for something concrete to bring home for my fourth grader to build her writing skills. Ironically, the first workshop we picked was entitled "School on a Shoestring" -- I must admit I was reluctant to go because I really don't like to be the money saver.... that's my husband's job and he's good at it! As it turns out, however, that title was really a way to get people into the workshop, because once we were there we found out it was all about WRITING! I think God was looking out for me today.
The workshop was entitled "School on a Shoestring" because the program they were promoting was fairly inexpensive and covers a range of subject areas. So.... what is the program? Well, it is called Writing Strands and I absolutely loved the presentation, and loved the straightforward and humorous style of the student text. I purchased Writing Strands 3, and if you go to the link you can download a sample of the book. The presenter often talked about how most students can read a text and answer questions about it - simple regurgitation of facts, but so few college freshmen really know how to WRITE. This has been a huge concern of mine, and I loved the way this program seemed to make it so easy for the child. It's also been endorsed by Susan Wise Bauer of The Well Trained Mind, and this means a lot to me. I love this example of a student's writing on their website -- it is encouraging to read this and think of the possibilities for us this year.
It's funny to me how my style of homeschooling is beginning to take shape (I've only been doing this for a year!).... I thought I would be a solid Charlotte Mason homeschooler, but as it turns out I'm pretty eclectic, with a lot of classical education thrown in. I love this about homeschooling. You can adapt and change with the needs of your children, and there are so many truly beautiful curriculum choices out there.
We had only planned to go to the expo one day, but my husband told me I should go back tomorrow and he'll stay home with the kids. I'm looking forward to learning some more and having a chunk of time to stroll through the huge exhibit hall. Oh, and if you have experience with this program, please leave me a comment. I'm sure I'll be blogging about our writing assignments as the year progresses.
One last note -- when we got home this evening both of my children had end of the summer swim shows.... my son (five) dove from the board and swam a full lap of the pool and did a great job. My daughter (now nine) is on the synchronized swimming team and did a cute routine and then some individual things as well. I was so proud of each of my children, and so thankful we have a swim teacher who loves children and has a huge following in our community. It's too late to attach photos, but hopefully over the weekend I'll be able to post some!